Tuesday, February 23, 2010

wedding question: feel free to skip (real post coming soon, I promise)

So, like, I'm pretty sure I don't want a traditional wedding dress. I don't want some long train thing I'm just going to trip over all night (um, hi, I'm clumsy). I'm worried about looking for a dress at the Big Name Wedding Dress Chains because I either won't find what I want or it'll be wicked expensive and HELLO I'm only going to wear it one day, unless I get bored or something some Sunday afternoon and decide to wear it while I do laundry but ANYWAY I DIGRESS.

My question is: what's the deal with buying wedding dresses online? Is it dangerous? Not like someone will stab you dangerous, but like you just paid a bunch of money for something that looks like a Kmart Halloween costume dangerous. Do you know anyone who has done that, with good results?

OK thanks (in advance) for solving my problems for me, Internets. Again.


  1. My advice with wedding dresses (which is worth almost nothing, because I've never had a wedding, but I'm going to tell it to you anyway) is to go expensive, and stay away from David's Bridal. A dress in the $500-$1000 range is going to be pretty and classy and not ridiculous, and if you buy it online, you can still have it altered by a taylor.

    If you want something cheaper, you should probably buy it in person because of the Kmart Halloween costume thing.

    If and when I get married in the future, there are two things that I will spare no expense on: food and my dress. So, those are my priorities in case you were wondering.

  2. I don't have any advice, but you will be beautiful no matter what you wear. True facts.

  3. ok, I actually DID order a dress online, but the site I used is no longer open, apparently. I had a great experience and my dress turned out exactly as I thought it would. I guess that doesn't do you much good, though, does it?

    Anyway, the best advice I can give you is to go shopping at some nice stores and Davids and wherever is available to you and just try one anything that catches your eye. You may not really know what you want until you get it on. And there are tons of designs lately that are more slip dresses than huge ball gowns, and 'traditional wedding dresses' come in a variety of styles now, so it isn't like if you buy a dress from a bridal shop you're going to end up looking like a cake topper.

    I DO have a friend who just ordered her dress online, so I'll see if I can find out where she got it and what her experience was.

    And I ditto my tater tot, you will look beautiful if you get married in jeans and a t-shirt.

  4. Abigail1:38 PM

    This is a thing! Buying dresses online! I read about it last year (where I have no idea, otherwise I would link you) and it's totally cool. I'm going to google this up for you.

    Also, I have to disagree with Ashley regarding "spare no expense." Because stuff in the wedding industry is often times overpriced because they can totally count on people to spare no expense. Don't get sucked in! Use the money for booze and t-shirts you'll wear more than just one time.

  5. Abigail1:41 PM

    Oh, I have something else to say. I also read once about renting your dress. You can get a way fancier (read: couture) dress for the same price as buying a plain old dress. Likewise, you can get a $1000 dress for less than $200 (or whatever). People get weird about this idea, but it's just like a guy renting a tux, I say.

  6. Holy advice, Batman! Thanks, everybody.

    I guess I should clarify that when I say I don't want to spend a lot, I mean like thousands of dollars, I'm OK spending, I don't know, $500 or so. I suppose I should actually go try some dresses on before I rule anything out entirely. Did I mention I hate shopping? Because I hate shopping.

    Abs, this rent-a-dress idea sounds amazing. I will get to Googling.

  7. I know lots of people who've loved J. Crew dresses (some of which are cheap compared even to David's Bridal, which, seriously. Don't go there. Insult to the intelligence that is.). Also, some of the coolest, more laid back brides I've known bought their dresses on ebay and had great experiences. They tend to be super-cheap, comparatively, and you can always get it tailored if you need to.

    I spend too much money on my real clothes, and I am a total sucker for a good dress, but I think you can totally find a less expensive dress that will be awesome if you use your internetular powers.

  8. What Heather Anne said, that's more or less exactly what I'm thinking.

  9. Rent-a-dress sounds awesome. Does that mean I can get, like, a $10,000 dollar dress? You guys, I have shopping issues.

  10. I think I'm just going to reiterate everyone else. I have no experience with the online dress thing, but I would still go to bridal shops (real ones, not David's) to figure out what exactly you're looking for. I know that my wedding dress was NOTHING like what I thought I was going to get. I mean, nothing could've been further from what I expected. So give yourself that opportunity to try lots of things. Then once you find the style and/or specific dress you want, then maybe try to find it online.

    And whether you intend to buy a bridal shop dress or buy it online, if the people/situation/whatever gives you a bad vibe, just DON'T do it. I definitely turned and walked out of stores because the employees went from being ragingly bitchy to phony nice in 0.3 seconds.

    And at some point, the trying on of dresses will become exhausting, both physically and mentally. At this point, I highly recommend calling it a day, and finding a diner and getting a burger & fries. (Or a beer. Or go buy new T-shirts. Whatever thing that makes you happy.) It's the only way I kept my sanity on the first day of dress shopping before I found the shop I didn't feel like I was being tortured in.

    And that's my two cents (and then some) about wedding dress shopping.

  11. T-Mama3:13 PM

    Just a lurker dropping by to say I hated hated hated shopping for my wedding dress--my Mom drug me to a few places. In the end, I bought my dress online from jcrew.com--I think most of their dresses are online only. Anyway, it was about $250 dollars, great quality, barely needed to be tailored and I can't say enough good things about them. They have a wide range of prices, but to me it was cheaper than David's Bridal or any bridal shop and less of a hassle than the shopping.

  12. How non-traditional are you going? Because if you're just buying a nice dress and not an explicitly "bridal" one, I don't see any reason why you couldn't just buy a number of them from J. Crew and Nordstrom etc etc and try them on at home and send back everything you don't like, just like regular online shopping.

    Like everyone said, J. Crew's bridal line is pretty awesome, but if you're not going bridal, then make sure to buy this spring while you can still find a white dress. If you want to wear white, and not, like, a Superman cape tied around your neck (which: awesome).

    And yes, you'll be gorgeous no matter what! :)

  13. I guess what I mean by non-traditional is I don't want anything huge and poofy, or with a lot of lace or beading or much embellishment at all, really. I looked at the J.Crew ones and they are way pretty.

    I will definitely think about the Superman cape.

  14. As someone who has had a wedding, and also helped MANY other people with their weddings, I am happy to weigh in with my opinion on the dress.
    -David's Bridal = OH HELL NO. I have never had a good experience there.
    -Overpriced snooty bridal boutiques = NO. I don't even actually know you, Jennie, and I am positive that you will hate them. They are guaranteed to NOT have your size in ANYTHING because they only carry one size of anything and it's some random size that most people don't wear and it's so frustrating, especially when you have to make an appointment to even LOOK at dresses and blah blah blah... JUST DON'T GO THERE.
    -Ordering online = RISKY. But if you find something you love online, and think your measurements match pretty well, it's a decent option. As others have mentioned, a good tailor will be your bestest friend.
    -What I did: Bought off the clearance rack at a regular "occasion dress" shop in the mall. It cost about $200, I could try it on in my size right there in the shop, and since it was actually technically a white prom dress (bought in June, right when they were clearing out the spring's collection of formal dresses) it was not marked up 50-100% as a "wedding dress". If you look in the late spring and early summer, you have the best chance of finding white or off-white, if you want something in that color range. I still have my dress and I'd offer to let you borrow it but just be warned I was like a size negative 0 back in the day so even I can't wear it now.
    -Thrift store: It takes some hunting through some truly dreadful stuff (the worst 1980s bridesmaid dresses ever can be found at Goodwill and Salvation Army now) but you can glean some gems for very great prices. I've had two friends get gorgeous dresses in the $20-25 range.

  15. Some more thoughts:
    -Dress rental: I have heard of this, but didn't look much into it, as I was able to purchase my dress for the same amount of money (or less) as it would have cost to rent, and then I wore it three times (wedding day, plus two out-of-town receptions). I would say, be careful, check for hidden fees and be concerned if there is a deposit that you could lose, since you can easily get cake or wine or lipstick or SOMETHING on a dress on your wedding day. And make sure it has been cleaned properly before you get it. *shudder*
    -Consignment shop: Like a thrift store but with higher quality and higher prices, and many of them have a bridal or formal section. Worth a look if there are any in your area.
    -Heirloom dress: It might be special to wear a vintage wedding dress of a mother, beloved aunt, or grandmother. This would be "non-traditional", meaningful, and budget-friendly. It might also not be an option for you. My mom's wedding dress is lovely and she still has it, but even at my smallest I was bigger than my petite mom was on her wedding day. Depressing.
    -Designer outlets: Look in the formal wear section of stores at the outlet mall. Fabulous dresses with even more fabulous price tags! All variety of styles available!

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  17. Anonymous12:04 AM

    I had a great experience buying my dress on ebay in 2007- vera wang, simple, pretty, $500 bucks, and its perfect for doing laundry in.